Sustainability indices as a tool for urban managers, Evidence from four medium-sized Chinese cities
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This research in four medium-sized Chinese cities aims at measuring urban sustainability in China and focuses on three issues. First, the situation in these four cities with regard to urban sustainability is evaluated. Secondly, a number of relations between different aspects of urban sustainability is explored. Finally, it is indicated how urban managers can improve with sustainability indices as tools currently ineffective urban management practices. Although all four cities are moving towards sustainable development, the current situation shows still weak sustainability in three, and even non-sustainability in one city. The social and, in particular, the economic dimensions of urban sustainability make significant positive contributions to overall urban sustainability. However, the decline of natural resources and environmental degradation are influencing it negatively. It is therefore suggested that more priority should be assigned to urban environmental protection and management in China. The fundamental reason for environmental degradation is believed to be inefficient urban management. To implement effective urban management in China, there is an urgent need to redefine the role of local government, reform local organizational structure, enhance local participatory institutional capacity, properly distribute the urban welfare, and thus integrate economic, social and environmental objectives local strategic and action plans.